Grow Therapy, Big Health Deal Highlights Path Forward for Digital Therapeutics

Burgeoning outpatient mental health digital platform Grow Therapy has partnered with digital therapeutics producer Big Health.

The deal aims to drive more patients to Big Health’s suite of mental health-focused digital therapeutics. Additionally, Grow Therapy providers and patients can access high-tech tools that support patients between therapy sessions.

“This partnership massively further allows us to expand what’s working about our commercialization model in the digital therapeutics space, which has been, in the U.S., going through the employers,” Arun Gupta, Big Health’s CEO and executive chairman, told Behavioral Health Business. “We believe that these digital therapeutics are most valuable when they’re seamlessly side-by-side with evidence-based high-quality therapy interactions.”


The deal also highlights a solution to an existential problem for digital therapeutics as a business: patient acquisition.

While not new, digital therapeutics must compete with a crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) digital ecosystem replete with apps and other services that aim to aid with mental health issues. Worsening mental health and generational changes in attitudes about mental health in the U.S. make mental health services increasingly in demand. Still, it’s a market defined by high patient churn and requires significant customer volumes to succeed. Telehealth companies such as Talkspace have pivoted away from the chaos of the D2C market in hopes of finding more stable ground in the business-to-business world.

The B2B route on paper elevates digital therapeutics out of the morass and delivers more stable business. However, that route comes with even more complicated issues than just standing out, although that is an issue in the B2B space, especially after the onset of the pandemic.


Some have tried to get the approval of the Food and Drug Administration and allow their digital therapeutics to be prescribed and, therefore, distributed by clinicians. It may also have eventually embedded digital therapeutics in payer formularies, providing a straightforward means of generating revenue for the company and potentially the prescriber.

However, FDA clearance is a long and expensive process. And the prevailing use cases in the market — Pear Therapeutics and Akili Inc. — so far show success is not likely.

Pear Therapeutics, a prescription digital therapeutic company that focused on addiction treatment, filed for bankruptcy in April 2023 and was sold for parts later in the year. Akili Inc. (Nasdaq: AKLI) announced in September 2023 that it would bail on seeking FDA clearance for prescribing and would lay off 40% of its staff. Akili produces video games that help build skills for those with ADHD.

Partnering with a large mental health platform such as Grow Therapy marries the best of both the B2B and D2C worlds — stability through a business partnership and volume from being where patients are.

New York City-based Grow Therapy operates in 47 states and the District of Columbia. It manages a more-than 5,800 clinician-strong provider network and 52 health plans and employee assistance programs, according to its website. Grow Therapy has raised $90 million since its founding in 2020. It offers independent clinicians digital tools to operate their practices and connects them with patients on an in-network basis.

San Francisco-based Big Health offers three digital therapeutics: Sleepio for insomnia, Daylight for anxiety, and Spark Direct for depression for those aged 13 and older. It has raised $129 million and was founded in 2010, according to Crunchbase.

Big Health acquired Spark Direct through its acquisition of San Francisco-based Limbix, announced in July 2023. Previously, Limbix said it created the first-ever evidence-based digital therapeutic for teen depression. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Looking forward, Gupta predicts that Big Health will be able to have a huge year in 2024. He expects the company’s patient volume will eclipse the entirety of the digital therapeutics industry.

“It’s a true win-win for both organizations because we can get a lot more employers onboard to these solutions, which creates a lot more patient flow,” Gupta said.

Grow Therapy and Big Health will share outcomes and care data to improve care at both companies.

“Grow Therapy has built the highest-quality system for a diverse range of mental health professionals to deliver care to patients, working with health plans across the country,” Jake Cooper, co-founder and CEO of Grow Therapy, said in a statement. “Our mission to deliver a high-quality client experience and treatment outcomes fits well with Big Health’s commitment to clinical insights and digital innovation.”

Digital mental health services platforms like Grow Therapy — as well as its peers Alma, Headway and Rula Health — are the fastest-growing type of digital marketplace in the U.S., according to Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Companies like this saw spending increase by about 275% in 2022 as measured by credit card transactions.

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